In most modern Christians’ day-to-day practices of faith, fasting is probably not one of them. Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food for a defined period of time for spiritual purpose. But how, you might be asking, does abstaining from food help you grow spiritually? And is it a practice that just made sense for people of faith in Jesus’ time, or is it still good for us? Is it safe?
When it comes to the practice of fasting, you may have a lot of questions like these. We hope to help you grow in your understanding of this practice by exploring these questions here:
How does abstaining from food help people spiritually?
Jewish people before the time of Christ fasted. Jesus fasted. His disciples fasted. Early Christians fasted. Why was this practice so important to these people?
Essentially, the feeling of hunger from abstaining from food is meant to remind the faster of their need for God. During a fast, a Christian spends time reflecting on God, praying, reading His Word and seeking Him out. They learn to lean on Him more physically than they usually do because their body is being denied something it wants.
Is fasting still relevant?
Fasting may not be as common today as it once was, but many Christian still take an opportunity to fast every now and then. It’s still relevant today, because who couldn’t use a devoted period of time to intensify their focus on the Lord?
Just remember that if you fast, it should be done in earnestness. Jesus has no interest in a display of ritual. He is after your heart and wants to have a connection with you spiritually. If you fast to put on a show for yourself, for others or to somehow impress God, you’ll be disappointed.
Is fasting safe?
We do not claim to be medical experts here, but it’s generally understood that fasting for a day or two, as long as you’re staying hydrated, is perfectly safe for healthy people. However, if you have a condition that could put you at risk, consult your doctor before giving fasting a shot.
Also, there are different ways to fast. Some people fast from both food and water for an entire day. Some fast only from food but still drink water. Some will add other liquids, such as coffee or broth, to their fast. Some eat in the mornings or evenings but fast during the daytime. Examples of these different methods of fasting can be found in the Bible, and it’s interesting how it varies from culture to culture in the different time periods in which the biblical texts were recorded.
What matters is not so much the method of fasting, but how it guides you toward devoting your time, energy and focus to seeking the Lord throughout the day.
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